29 Mar 2012

Federer looking to break new ground


Photo: Siggi BucherRoger Federer (SUI) 2012

There is a statistic that is reeled out at every Grand Slam event about how Roger Federer has played the most consecutive majors of any active player.

The world No. 3 competed in his 49th straight Grand Slam at the Australian Open earlier this year – only Wayne Ferreira (56 in a row) and Stefan Edberg (54) can lay claim to standing in the way of Federer breaking yet another long-standing tennis record.

Furthermore, the 30-year-old Swiss superstar has incredibly reached the last 31 Grand Slam quarterfinals such is his consistency at the highest level. One has to go all the way back to 2004 Roland Garros to recall the last time that Federer failed to make the last eight at one of the four majors.

A lesser-known statistic about Federer's longevity is that he is one of just three active players who have played in the men’s singles at the last three Olympic Games.

The only other players to have equalled that feat are Nicolas Massu and Rainer Schuettler. The Chilean, who is ranked No. 565 in the world and playing Challenger events courtesy of wild card entries, is a long way off the form that saw him win a gold medal in the men’s singles at Athens 2004 and is, therefore, unlikely to make up the men’s singles draw for London 2012.

Similarly, Schuettler, who turns 36 next month and is ranked No. 146, has not played since falling in qualifying at the Australian Open in January.

Federer, on the other hand, will not only be competing in the men’s singles (injury permitting) at a fourth consecutive Olympic Games, but he is also one of the favourites to add singles gold to his already heavily-laden mantelpiece.

The Swiss has not enjoyed the success in singles at the Olympics as he has in every other competition in the sport. The closest he came to winning a singles medal was on his Olympic debut at Sydney 2000, when he lost the bronze medal match to France’s Arnaud Di Pasquale.

Following that, Federer made an early exit against Tomas Berdych in Athens before falling to James Blake in the quarterfinals in Beijing – on both occasions he was seeded No. 1.

Now, however, the Swiss has the chance to do what he has previously been unable to at his beloved Wimbledon – an extra incentive if ever he needed one.

Follow all the build-up to the Olympic Tennis Event at London 2012 on www.facebook.com/ITFOlympicTennis and www.twitter.com/olympicstennis.